We’re high-tailing it into peak season here in Ocean City, Maryland, and I’ve been sick at home with a nasty cold for more than two days now. Normally I’d be any combination of walking the Boardwalk/photographing the beach/writing in our Berlin office, but instead I’ve been laying on my couch wishing I was able to do any one of those things that I so enjoy.
Sometimes when I’m bored, as I have been the past couple of days, I read about Ocean City, even when I’m off the clock. I page through Bunk Mann’s book “Vanishing Ocean City” (an excellent Christmas gift by the way, courtesy of my mom), I peruse archaic cobweb-covered threads on our forum that date back as far as 2001, and I sift through locals-only Facebook groups, usually never posting myself because most of it’s just drama about who stole who’s lawn chairs and what business owners may have committed tax fraud. That is all to say, I try to keep my finger on the pulse of this town. And sometimes I come across things about Ocean City that are untrue but widely held to be true, or just frankly ridiculous.
On what’s hopefully my last sick day of the season, I’d like to spend a little time setting the record straight on a few things, once and for all.
10. Ocean City is really expensive, especially during high-season.
That’s only true if you have a penchant for really expensive things, and then that argument could be made for just about everywhere. It’s free to lay in the sand, and hermit crab stock is ever on the rise. If you need any more, here are 100 free things to do in Ocean City.
9. The Old Pro dinosaurs come to life at night and stampede Coastal Highway while you’re sleeping.
That is simply not true. This isn’t Night at the Museum, and they only stampede Coastal Highway one chosen night out of every Memorial Day Weekend. Remain alert.
8. Something about the Alamo Motel.
Whatever you heard, it probably just isn’t so. Also, it’s the first motel to be built in Worcester County, which is cool, and it’s currently undergoing renovations.
7. Horseshoe crabs are 400 million years old.
Those emptied brown shells you find on the beach belong to the elusive horseshoe crab, and they’re precisely old as dirt. They’re actually about 445 million years old, and that’s the entire species, not one particular crab — though I would not be surprised if you handed me a particular horseshoe crab and told me it lived through the mesozoic era.
6. The Shoreham Hotel is haunted.
That might be true, but it’s also possible you had too much Moose Juice and spied one of the kids from OC Screams walking the Boardwalk, as they are apt to do.
5. Fights are constantly breaking out in front of Ocean City’s oldest bar.
This might have once been true, but I have never seen a fight in or near the Harbor Inn, and the bar is working hard to build up its reputation as a safe and fun place to drink, which it is. It is true that the Whiplash is a delicious drink, and that there is a collection of Barbies above the bar’s TV.
4. Giant rats run wild underneath the Boardwalk.
There is only one giant rat in Ocean City, and he has lived inside Trimper’s Haunted House since the 1960s. The Haunted House is the only place in town where you’ll find giant rats, skeletal miners and hippopatami, I promise. With any luck, someday it’ll be the only place on the Boardwalk you’ll find creepy old men, too.
3. Part of Elvis’ hit movie “Blue Hawaii” was filmed on Ocean City’s beach.
That’s not even a rumor. I just made that up. But wouldn’t that have been cool? In reality, the only Elvis that’s ever set foot in OC has likely been an attendee of the Elvis Festival, or otherwise Norman Webb AKA Boardwalk Elvis. Close enough!
2. The beach/Boardwalk/everything is so dirty.
Even if that might be true at times, there are countless people who work hard to keep Ocean City clean, from public works employees to volunteers with Clean Beach OC and the like. You’re allowed to complain, but only if you acknowledge those who work hard to clean up the town, and even then only if you yourself have never left more than a footprint on the beach.
1. Ocean City is no longer a family resort!
In all seriousness, this is the biggest and most pervasive myth that surrounds Ocean City, Maryland today. Lawsuits and n’er-do-wells are par for the course, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a town that offers so many free and family-friendly activities to the public, in addition to all the private businesses that host family events and activities daily.
In this old thread from 2006, forum user OCGuy points out that most of the top complaints Ocean City receives were just as commonplace in 1966 as they were in 2006. And even if you disagree with that, well… Lighten up a little. There’s all kinds of fun to be had in Ocean City for kids, senior-weekers and senior citizens alike.